La Roque-Saint-Christophe

The Roque-Saint-Christophe is a striking site. It encapsulates the extraordinary history of Périgord, mind-bogglingly long, and full of bloody twists and turns. The South of Périgord is structured around powerful rivers, such as the Dordogne, the Isle and the Vézère, and the steep valleys they have carved out. Cliffs and rocky outcrops everywhere mark theContinue reading “La Roque-Saint-Christophe”

The land of Cockayne?

The land of Cockayne (“le pays de Cocagne”) is a utopic country of endless plenty and rest, a kind of paradise for the medieval peasant. If you ask a French person where it is, almost half would situate it in the South-West. It might be because of the similarity between the words “Cocagne” and “Gascogne”.Continue reading “The land of Cockayne?”

Climate changes, or seeking shade in Périgord

Exploring a new land means getting to grips with its climate. It took me a few days to acclimatise to the July heat of Périgord. I became frustrated with how little exploring I could do, but the weather is a master you must obey. In the South of France, in July, my Parisian hyperactivity wasContinue reading “Climate changes, or seeking shade in Périgord”

Home abroad

Somewhere between Montluçon and Limoges, I drove past a sign informing me I was entering the “pays d’oc”. As a linguist and an explorer of France, I got very excited. First of all, entering a new country is always exciting. The French language has the word “dépaysement”, for the feeling of being in a newContinue reading “Home abroad”